AAJA Convention 2018AAJA Convention 2018AAJA Convention 2018AAJA Convention 2018

Turner moseys on down to H-Town for the AAJA convention

Turner wrapped up its third straight week of conventions with journalists of color, heading to Houston for the Asian American Journalism Association (AAJA) convention, which took place August 8 – 11.

AAJA was founded in 1981 by a small group of AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islanders) journalists who felt a need to support one another and to encourage more Asian American and Pacific Islanders to pursue journalism at a time when there were few AAPI faces in the media.

The theme of the 2018 convention was to “press on” and move forward together. Issues discussed included the role of media, diversity, racism, the impact of natural disasters and the #MeToo movement. TurnerNow spoke with two CNN employees who attended the convention to get their perspective on the current state of newsrooms and why these conventions are still relevant.   

Kyung Lah - CNN Senior National Correspondent

TurnerNow: Why do you attend AAJA? 
Fundamentally, because I believe in CNN’s recruitment strategy and Ramon Escobar’s reporter/producer training seminars. 

Kyung Lah: Why are separate conventions for journalists of color still important? 
I think it helps journalists spend time on our identity and recognize how it plays into our coverage and career. Especially in these political times, the stories we share with each other and the lessons we’ve learned help each other.

TN: Explain the importance of Turner/CNN being at the AAJA conference each year?
KL: Visibility for one. CNN’s presence here affirms their desire to reflect the diversity in the U.S. and in our audience, especially among the fastest-growing minority population in the country, Asians. The second reason it’s important for Turner/CNN to have a presence is the direct reporter/producer training sessions. It shows the company’s engagement to develop diverse talent.

TN: What needs to be done so newsrooms are more reflective of the world we live in?
KL: I think CNN is doing one part of it with active recruitment. The other important part is to develop and hire Asian Americans for senior management and management at all levels. A more diverse management force develops a more diverse workforce.

 

Bernadette Tuazon - Director of Photography, CNN Digital, AAJA member for 6 years

TurnerNow: Why do you attend AAJA? 
I feel it’s important to connect with my peers from the same ethnicity.

Bernadette Tuazon: Why are separate conventions for journalists of color still important? 
To me this is very important. Conventions such as AAJA, NABJ, NAJA, NLGJA provide a space for journalists of color to come together and interact with their own communities of journalists. There is special bonding between people from the same race and ethnic background that I feel allows us to connect with others more deeply. The interactions feel more organic and free-flowing as we have similar backgrounds.

“A newsroom should be a reflection of the world we live in and cannot be monochromatic in its make-up and editorial operations.”

TN: Explain the importance of Turner/CNN being at the AAJA conference each year? 
BT: The presence of Turner at AAJA each year and its presence in all the journalism conventions are extremely important. It is more critical now than ever to be intentional in participating at these events and to really look hard at emerging talents that will help further diversify the CNN newsroom. A newsroom should be a reflection of the world we live in and cannot be monochromatic in its make-up and editorial operations. Participants at these conventions need to work hard to make connections in order to transition from potential candidate to a full-time Turner employee. CNN has done a terrific job diversifying the newsroom, but more is needed and these conventions are one way to help continue on that path.

TN: What needs to be done so newsrooms are more reflective of the world we live in?
BT: Hiring managers need to do their homework to vet and thoroughly review potential candidates – not just for the skills needed for the job but whether they have experience maneuvering through editorial landmines. We also need to be more intentional in the hiring process to ensure we have diversity in the newsroom. We are journalists, we are trained to find anything and everything – this includes the best candidate of color. 

In its efforts to promote equality in the workplace, Turner works with organizations dedicated to diversity in media and journalism including the Asian American Journalist Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications. To find more information on Turner’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, please visit: www.turner.com/diversity.